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Becoming Mindful in the Day to Day

by Jo Wilkie

After reading your responses yesterday, I got to thinking about mindfulness with children. Well, my child in particular. I read a comment and thought, “Yes, that is what I am going to focus on as the holiday craziness starts…” But here is what happened in my MIND.

To be honest, playing with her is not one of my favorite things. I’m easily bored by drawing scribbles, chasing her, or even reading her books. So, when I think about bringing mindfulness to my time with her, my mind always goes to the ways in which I think I fail her. It’s as if I’m using the practice to highlight the weakness of my parenting. What I “should” be doing… (gritted teeth) “I’m going to sit down and be 100% in the moment while doing this thing that drives me nuts!”

Isn’t that terrible? Do you do this??

What if I didn’t do that? What if were to focus on and expand the time that I spend with her that is pure joy for both of us instead of trying to make tracing her hand for the 10 billionth time a mindful practice? Not that I stop doing the things I don’t like, but, when I’m “practicing” and being 100% in the moment, why not choose something that is really enjoyable, that I feel really good about? Won’t that, at the end of the day, be better for Clara, too?

This got me to thinking about what things I do well with her. The moments when I know we are grooving together and we are both having an excellent time. And as I reflect on it, we have lots of those moments. More than I would have imagined, much to my relief. For instance, when I walk her to school, it’s always at her pace. We stop and look at things, I let her jump in puddles, we talk about what’s happening on the street… it’s a really, really precious time for both of us. She has also started helping me wash the dishes after dinner which I really enjoy sharing with her- she gets to splash around, “help” Mommy, and I get to finish a task without having to tell her I’ll play with her later. I enjoy singing songs and dancing with her, and naturally, I love to practice Yoga with her. She is the best at making up cool new poses and I name them…

So, really, what I’m getting at here is a word of caution. When engaging in any practice, take the “should” out of the equation. Don’t use the practice to prove to yourself (if you are like me) what a lost cause you are. Use your practice to expand on the best of youself. To be present to the ways that you surprise and delight yourself and the people around you. Because really, don’t we all spend enough time focused on our faults?

Practice on….

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